Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hike #2 Trails Challenge ’09

Murietta FallsYours Truly contemplating the interesting trickle that was Murietta Falls on our visit.

Ohlone Regional Wilderness: Lake Del Valle to Murietta Falls & Stewart’s Camp Backpack

For my second Trails Challenge 2009 hike (see original post about EBRPD's Trails Challenge) I chose a recommended hike that I’ve wanted to do for quite awhile now—Murietta Falls in the Ohlone Regional Wilderness south of Livermore. Murietta Falls is supposedly one of the tallest waterfalls in the Bay Area falling 100 feet over a huge chunk of serpentine rock jutting out of the surrounding grassy oak savanna and draining into La Costa Creek. The Trails Challenge trail guide lists it as “the longest continuous drop waterfall in Alameda County.”

This waterfall however doesn’t have much water volume and can be less than spectacular or even dry if visited too late in the season or in a low water year like this year. The Trails Challenge guide lists it as a “winter” hike just for this reason, but I was willing to risk it as the weather was still cool—the San Francisco Bay Area's valley interior can get blistering hot—and since spring has sprung, I was hoping that the wildflowers would be out. Another consideration was that all of my trail guides stress the strenuousness of this trail. I figured I would better enjoy this hike as an overnight backpack which shortens the daily mileage and elevation gain/loss, and luckily, since stewart’s camp trail camp was available and only half a mile away from the falls I could.

On our visit it turns out the falls were more of a dribble than a gush, but fortunately my hiking partner Amy's and my efforts were more than rewarded with vast views of lush green hills, fields of beautiful wildflowers, soaring raptors, frog-filled ponds, coyote howls and sweet solitude.

View all of my photos from this hike on flickr.

Trails Challenge Hike #2 Stats:

  • Date Completed: April 2 – 3, 2009
  • Location: CA, Ohlone Regional Wilderness (south of Livermore)
  • Mileage: ~14 mi round trip
  • Elevation: +/-4485' RT, ; lo pt 750; hi pt 3,372'

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